Critic Reviews

75

Metascore

Based on 9 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
Slant Magazine
A brief history of time and space, according to Bertrand Bonello.
91
Without soft-pedaling it in the least, Bonello nonetheless mourns the passing of a time where prostitutes didn't control their destinies, but at least had each other.
88
No one, male or female, has any fun, but the men behave as if they do. They are all half-stupefied by the languor in which they drown.
80
Village Voice
The filmmaker gives full vent to his romanticism by staging an End of the Epoch party, with tearful sex workers dancing to "Nights in White Satin," then steps on the mood with yet another farewell fête, commemorating Bastille Day. The prisoners are free - to walk the streets. Ironic, no?
80
Like Walter Benjamin, Bonello associates this insularity with both innocence and the 19th century; and when, in the final sequence of House of Pleasures, he dispenses with the security exuded by these subjects, the effect is like being shaken violently out of a dream.
75
It's a strange film, very original and very good. Just by virtue of the subject matter, it can't help but be erotic, and yet eroticism is not the movie's purpose.
63
Despite copious full-frontal female nudity, House of Pleasures isn't mere sexploitation. Rather, it's a gorgeously filmed portrait of a bygone era, with painstaking attention to period detail. On the downside, the movie is overlong.
60
The result is erratic, occasionally WTF hilarious (three words: revenge by panther!), and in its transgressive tracks-of-my-tears climax, capable of finding pleasure in being bat-shit crazy.
60
Throughout the film there is an abundance of sumptuously photographed flesh on view. But House of Pleasures is not an erotic stimulant so much as a slow-moving, increasingly tragic and claustrophobic operatic pageant set almost entirely in the brothel.

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